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April 2005

Number 109 (Update of Volume 9, Issue 6)

3k Associates rounds up free programs

3k Associates, the software company which developed the NetMail/3000 e-mail app and maintains the 3kassociates.com Web site, is looking for contributed MPE/iX software and command files. 3k founder Chris Bartram will be archiving the contributed programs on his site for free download to any 3000 user around the world, as well as providing links to servers where free programs reside.

“I’m in the process of expanding the public domain software links on www.3kassociates.com, Bartram announced on the HP 3000 newsgroup. “Anyone with programs they’d like to make available (since the old CSL swap tapes seem to be hard to come by these days) please let me know. I’ll either link to your location, or happily host the software on our web/FTP servers. More direct link: http://www.3kassociates.com/index_software.html

“The intent is that all this software be easily locatable and freely downloadable in perpetuity; or as long as our 3000s keep chugging (which will be quite a while)!

“We’ve got a pretty good collection out there already, but I want to ensure that we pick up as many other contributions as possible, before more of the 3k community drops offline...”

Contributed software was a vital part of the early HP 3000 experience; many sites still use some program, such as BOUNCER, which logs out users after a specified time period. Contact Bartram at RCB@3kassociates.com with your contributed bits.

The 3000 NewsWire features a Q&A interview with Bartram in its June issue.

Fiorina iSeries news jiggles funny bone

Just after we reported that HP named Mark Hurd to replace Carly Fiorina as CEO, the iSeries community made the ousted HP leader the butt of an April Fool’s prank. The iSeries News Web site posted an April 1 story that reported Fiorina would lead the iSeries division at IBM.

The article at the iSeries News site read in part, “’She was a free agent with star power, so we just had to sign her,’” commented IBM Chairman Sam Palmisano. In a surprise announcement, IBM appointed dethroned HP honcho Carly Fiorina to head its iSeries Division. In so doing, IBM signaled it will take a more aggressive approach to dealing with the iSeries’ competition.” Among the proposed projects on Fiorina’s plate in the article: porting HP-UX to the iSeries so it can compete head-to-head with the HP 9000. In truth, the HP version of Unix still only runs on Itanium servers and PA-RISC servers; no Intel Pentium-based HP-UX version is in the works.

The day also prompted another jest, when Bradmark’s MPE director Jerry Fochtman posted a faux news message that CEO Hurd had decided to rethink the cancellation of the HP 3000 line. IBM’s iSeries division remains headed up by Mark Shearer, a 27-year IBM lifer who took over for Mike Borman in January. IBM missed analyst earnings estimates in its latest quarterly report, a problem that Palmisano said he’d remedy by moving more people out to the field, closer to clients.

HP remains committed to ending its HP 3000 business, though the vendor has promised to notify the community about third-party MPE licensing in the second half of this year.

As for Fiorina, the business press she courted has been quick to revise its history of her HP legacy, the Compaq merger. In a recent merger article, the Wall Street Journal noted:

“The technology sector’s biggest merger -- Hewlett-Packard Co.’s $25 billion purchase of Compaq Corp. in 2001 -- has proved disillusioning to shareholders and resulted in the ouster this year of the chief executive, Carly Fiorina.”

Make Perl work on your 3000

The newest version of Perl, the scripting tool popular with both Unix administrators and Web site developers, runs on the HP 3000. Mark Bixby has placed the 5.8.1 binaries on the Invent3k Web server. In a note to technical colleagues, Bixby pointed out that users should “consider downloading the 5.8.1 source from any Perl archive and compiling it yourself. 5.8.1 was the last official Perl release that I had time to submit the MPE diffs to. I have not done any Perl porting work since 5.8.1.” Free registration for the Invent3k Web server, run by HP, is at http://jazz.external.hp.com/pads

GHRUG mounts May show

The Greater Houston Regional Users Group is hosting a May 25 one-day conference. Held at the campus of the University of Houston at Clear Lake, the conference will include sessions on HP 3000 migration in its content. Held at 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston TX 77058, the meeting will include keynote speaker Curt Tueffert on “Five Stones for Slaying Giants.” MB Foster will speak on “Assessing and Mitigating Disaster Recovery Risks,” and the City of Houston’s Ken Porter will talk about his organization’s ongoing migration away from the 3000. Denys Beauchemin will port COBOL, VPlus and IMAGE applications to other platforms in “a real case performed live.”

Registration by May 20 is $50 for the event with a guaranteed lunch, or $75 at the door with no guarantee of an available lunch. Mail your check to GHRUG, 7044 Empire Central, Houston, TX 77040-3214. Look for more details on the GHRUG Web site.

Hardware support options are local

After problems with another HP corporate system have slowed parts availability, some 3000 customers are also reporting that HP’s response time commitments are flagging for support. John Lee of Vaske Computer Solutions suggested that a local hardware support provider, independent of HP, might be a better choice for HP 3000 hardware support today.

“For a number of reasons, parts availability among them, finding a good local support provider will yield you a better experience than dealing with a huge, nationwide infrastructure that has one parts depot a thousand miles away. This is particularly true for the HP 3000, for as we all know, HP CE’s/help desk/etc. don’t know what they are anymore...they’ve not been trained on them. I’m not making a political statement, it’s just a fact.

Lee went on to add that there are alternatives to HP support, including Vaske, and even mentioned a 3000-related employment opportunity. “[These alternatives] can do a superior job of servicing your site. You should be checking them out to see if one is within striking distance of your site. Furthermore, if you’re interested in becoming a remote CE for us at your location/city/state, let me know, as we have several ex-sys admins who work for us as independent contractors servicing sites.” Contact Lee at jlee@vaskecomputer.com.

Itanium development platforms remain discounted

HP continues to promote the Itanium architecture and servers to the development community, a mission that keeps driving down the cost of owning an HP Itanium server. This is the architecture that will host the future of HP-UX, a popular choice among those HP 3000 sites who plan to migrate. The latest deal from HP and Intel delivers an Itanium server for $2,000 along with a two-and-a-half-day training program in moving apps to Itanium. Attendees get an Integrity rx1620 server -- a 2-CPU unit with one year warranty and a 36GB integrated disk -- shipped to them after they attend the seminar. The next seminar is in Washington DC July 12. For more information see the following HP Web page:

http://h21007.www2.hp.com/dspp/bus/bus_BusDetailPage_IDX/1,1252,6045,00 .html

In the offer, HP notes that MPE products are still part of its Developer’s program, DSPP:

“This [Integrity server] purchase is included in the DSPP member purchase limit of up to $300K of any combination of HP Itanium-based, PA-RISC, MPE, OpenView, or Storage products within a single fiscal year. All equipment purchased through the DSPP program must be used for development, demonstration, or testing purposes only for the first 12 months after the purchase date; only then can it be utilized for other internal purposes and/or resold.”

The training doesn’t mention moving HP 3000 apps to Itanium, focusing on HP-UX, Linux, OpenVMS and Windows applications. But companies who plan to move their own 3000 applications to HP-UX could benefit from the training, since Itanium represents the future of HP’s plans for that environment. The tracks assume a baseline level of knowledge about developing code in the environment.


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